BRAKES boss Paul Holleran hailed the resilience of his Leamington side after escaping with a 2-2 draw at home to Spennymoor Town to preserve their six-match unbeaten run.
First-half strikes from visiting duo Rob Ramshaw and Ryan Hall ruled out a goal inside the first minute from Kaiman Anderson at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium, leaving it up to Josh March to claim a point with his penalty 14 minutes from time.
Reflecting on a respectable result against a Spennymoor side on an unbeaten streak standing at six games in the league, Holleran felt his side were somewhat fortunate to escape with a point.
“It’s a very good point against a strong Spennymoor side, who did something in the first half that no team has done to us for a long time,” he said.
“They smothered us, but the equaliser was coming and Josh March was reliable as ever [from the spot].
“I’m happy with a point, Spennymoor deserved something out of the game.”
Spennymoor went into the fixture having not played since a repeat face-off in the FA Trophy in late November, while Holleran had a full squad available to him, bar the suspended Stephan Morley.
Within seconds of the first whistle being blown, the ball was being brought back to the centre circle after Anderson slid home from March’s left-wing cross to give the hosts an instantaneous lead.
The Brakes looked fired up and seemed likely to build on their early advantage, but were almost caught out when Spennymoor broke away from a defensive set-piece and counter attacked, forcing defender James Mace to clear a shot off the goal line moments later.
Confidence in the visitors’ ranks continued to grow and resulted in the equalising goal on 22 minutes, when Ramshaw volleyed an effort from the edge of the area past rooted Leamington keeper Jake Weaver.
Then, four minutes later, the visitors found themselves in front when Hall stormed into the penalty area and dispatched a shot into the net to leave the Brakes shell-shocked.
Spennymoor continued their upwards momentum after the break and earned themselves the chance to gain a two-goal cushion from the spot, following a foul by Edwards on Glen Taylor.
Hauling himself to his feet to take the resulting spot kick, Taylor fired the ball wildly over the bar to the sarcastic jeers of the home crowd to keep the hosts in with a shout.
In response to the miss, Leamington gained confidence and went on the offensive, earning a penalty of their own when March was hacked down by Spennymoor captain Chris Mason.
March showed Taylor how it was done and sent Town custodian Matt Gould the wrong way, before almost putting his side back in front with an audacious volley from range that crashed against the crossbar.
Despite both sides going in search of a winner, a fifth goal did not arrive as the whistle sounded for time.
Leamington switch their attentions to the FA Trophy on Saturday (3pm), when visiting division rivals AFC Telford United in the first round.